AMERICANREVOLUTION.ORG THE ORGANIZATION OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN THEAMERICAN REVOLUTION CHAPTER III THE RECRUITING OF THE ARMY PERIOD OF ENLISTED SERVICE1
War Office, December 16, 1775.
IT is His Majesty's Pleasure, That, from the Date hereof, and during the Continuance of the Rebellion now subsisting in North America, every Person, who shall enlist as a soldier in any of His Majesty's Marching Regiments of Foot, shall be entitled to his Discharge at the End of Three Years, or at the end of the said Rebellion, at the Option of His Majesty.
By His Majesty's Command,
*** ENLISTMENT OF CRIMINALS2
Shrewsbury, 18 Aug. 1778, Mr. Ashby, Deputy Sheriff of Shropshire to Barrington.
"... I presume to mention to your Lordship that seven desperate Rogues included in H. M's conditional pardon...dated July 9th last remain in Salop Gaol to be delivered over to such Person or Persons as shall be duly authorised to receive them on condition of their enlisting and continuing to serve H. M. in his Land Service___, their names are John Williams otherwise Williamson for a Highway Robbery, Edward Williams and John Humphreys being found at large being sentenced to be transported, Abraham Jones for a Highway Robbery, Thomas Herbert for Sheepstealing, William Bennett for Shoplifting and Thomas Jarvis the Younger for Burglary..."
, Weston House, 10 Sept. 1778, Mr. Godschall [J. P.?] to Barrington.3
"John Quin an Irish American 29 years of Age near six feet high very dirty and ragged seemingly of slow understanding was this morning convicted before me of Orchard Robbing. He is willing to serve as a soldier. I have therefore committed him to the House of Correction in Guildford to await your Orders..."
Henley, 6 Aug. 1779, T. Cooper, Under Sheriff of Berks, to Jenkinson.4
"This day received a Letter from General Smith the High Sheriff of Berks desiring me to inform you of the Names of the several Convicts who had received Sentence of Death but were pardoned on Condition of entering into the Service.
"At the Summer Assizes 1778 Robert Thacher Received Sentence of Death for a Highway Robbery but has since been reprieved till his Majesty's Pleasure concerning him be known and still remains in the Gaol of the County of Berks. . . .
"At the last Assizes for Berks the three following Persons received Sentence of Death William Hughes for Sheep and Horse stealing William Marriott and William Abby for Horse stealing but were all reprieved before the Judges left the Town and are exceedingly proper Fellows either for the Land or Sea Service..."
*** FORM OF BEATING ORDER5
These are to authorise you by beat of drum or otherwise, to raise so many volunteers in any county or part of our kingdom of Great-Britain, as are or shall be wanting to recruit and fill up the respective companies of our regiment of foot, under your command, to the number allowed upon the establishment; and you are to cause the said volunteers, to be raised and levied as aforesaid, to march under the command of such Commission or Non-commissioned Officer, in such numbers and at such place, to any place or port you shall think proper; and all Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Constables, and all others Our civil Officers whom it may concern, are hereby required to be assisting unto you in providing quarters, impressing carriages, and otherwise as there shall be occasion; and for so doing, this Our order shall remain in force for twelve months from date hereof, and no longer.
Given at Our Court at St. James's, this day of 17__ in the ____ year of Our reign,
By his Majesty's command.
Copy of a Letter from the Secretary at War to the Honourable William Gordon, dated 19th December, 1777.6
War Office, 19th December 1777
I am commanded by the King to acquaint you, that His Majesty approves of your Proposal for raising a Regiment of Foot in the Highlands of Scotland; to consist of Eight Battalion Companies, One Company of Grenadiers, and One of Light Infantry. The Battalion Companies to consist each of 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 1 Ensign, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 private Men; the Grenadier Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, 2 Pipers, and 100 private Men; the Light Infantry Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 Private, with the usual Staff Officers. The Regiment to have the Field Officers under mentioned; viz. One Lieutenant Colonel and One Major, each having also a Company; and One Major without a Company, receiving an Allowance of 10s per Diem in lieu thereof, and 5s per Diem as Major; but in case of the Death or Promotion of the additional Major, the Pay of such Major is to cease upon the Establishment.
The Regiment to be under your Command as Colonel Commandant, with the Command of a Company.
I am to inform you, that Levy Money will be allowed you at the Rate of £3 per Man, for 1,082 Men; and that His Majesty has been pleased to direct, that the Pay of the Regiment shall take place from the Date of your Beating Order; and shall be allowed you in Aid of Recruiting, on Condition that you do render an exact Account of the said Levy Money, and Pay, that shall be issued to you, charging against it Five Guineas for each Man reviewed and approved, together with the Subsistence of the Non-commissioned Officers and private Men, from the Day of their respective Attestations; and if there should be any Balance remaining it is to be considered as a Saving to the Public, to be hereafter disposed of as shall be thought proper.
No more than three Guineas will be allowed to be given to each Recruit.
None are to be inlisted under Five Feet Four Inches, nor under Eighteen Years, or above Thirty.
It is required, that the Regiment shall be actually raised and approved (after being reviewed by a General Officer) within Four Months from Date hereof.
I have represented to His Majesty, that you humbly hope you shall be indulged in recommending the Officers, being such as are well affected to His Majesty, and most likely, by their Interests and Connections, to assist in raising the Corps without Delay; but that you do not desire any Commissions for them until the Regiment shall have been raised and approved.
You will therefore be pleased to send me, for His Majesty's Consideration, a List of such Persons as you propose for Officers; who, if they meet with His Royal Approbation, may be assured that they shall have Commissions as soon as ever the Regiment is completed. And I am to acquaint you, it is His Majesty's intention that the Companies which shall be first raised shall entitle their Captains and Subalterns to Seniority in the Regiment, according to their respective Ranks, and the different Periods at which the said Companies shall be completed.
I am to inform you that in case the Persons approved by the King for the Rank of Major should be of less than Five Years standing in the Army as Captains, they are to pay £300 each for their Commissions; which sums are to be carried in Aid of the Charges brought on the Public for Levy Money, and credited to the General Account.
I am likewise authorized by His Majesty to acquaint you, the Officers will be entitled to Half Pay in case the Regiment shall be reduced after it has been established.
I have the King's Commands to add, that as Orders are given for several other Highland Corps, it is His Majesty's Intention, that their Seniority in the Army shall be determined by the Periods at which they shall be respectively completed.
I have the Honour to be, Sir, etc.
Honourable Colonel William Gordon
Like Letter, of same Date, to John Mackenzie, Esquire.
Like Letter, dated the 25th December, 1777, to Colonel James Murray.
Like Letter, dated the 3d of January, 1778, to Colonel Francis McLean.
Copy of a Letter from the Secretary at War to the Mayor of Liverpool, dated 8th January, 1778.7
War Office, 8th January 1778.
I am commanded by the King to acquaint you, that His Majesty approves of the very handsome Proposal made by the Gentlemen of Liverpool, through their Committee, for raising a Regiment of Foot at their own Expence; the Regiment to consist of Eight Battalion Companies, One Company of Grenadiers, and One of Light Infantry. The Battalion Companies to consist each of 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 1 Ensign, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 private Men; the Grenadier Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, 2 Fifers, and 100 private Men; the Light Infantry Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 Private, with the usual Staff Officers. The Regiment to have 1 Colonel Commandant, 1 Lieutenant Colonel, and 1 Major, each having also a Company.
The Non-commissioned Officers and private Men are to receive Pay from the Days of their respective Attestations.
No more than Three Guineas Bounty Money will be allowed to each Recruit.
None are to be enlisted under Five Feet Four Inches, nor under Eighteen Years, or above Thirty.
It is required, that the Regiment shall be actually raised and approved (after being reviewed by a General Officer) within Four Months from the Date hereof. I have represented to His Majesty, that Commissions are not desired for the Officers until the Regiment shall be reviewed and approved.
The List of the Gentlemen recommended through the Committee for Commissions has been laid before the King, and honoured with his Royal Approbation; and they may be assured that they shall have the Commissions as soon as ever the Regiment is raised and approved.
I am likewise authorized by His Majesty to acquaint you, that the Officers will be entitled to Half Pay in case the Regiment shall be reduced after it has once been established.
I am to add, that it is his Majesty's Pleasure, that from the Date hereof, and during the Continuance of the Rebellion now subsisting in North America, every Person who shall enlist as a Soldier in any of His Majesty's Marching Regiments of Foot, shall be entitled to his Discharge at the end of Three Years, or at the end of the Rebellion, at the Option of His Majesty.
I have the Honour to be,
Worshipful the Mayor of Liverpool.
1London Gazette, 12-16 Dec. 1775.
3W.O. 1: 997.
5T. Simes, Military Guide, 1, 243-244.
636 Commons Journal, pp. 613-614.
736 Commons Journal, p. 616.
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